What Are The Odds Of Dying In A Car Crash in Missouri?

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation reported 6,756,000 traffic crashes nationwide. Over 2.74 million people were injured and 36,096 people died in traffic crashes that year. In Missouri, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 157,038 traffic accidents statewide in 2019, resulting in 881 deaths and 55,112 injuries. 

With the high number of traffic accidents that occur each year in the United States, it is not surprising that your odds of dying in a traffic accident are higher than being killed by a gunshot wound.

What Are the Odds of Dying in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

According to the National Safety Council, the odds of dying in a car accident in 2019 were 1 in 106. The odds of dying because of a gun assault were 1 in 289. 

Motorcyclists had a lower chance of dying in a motorcycle accident compared to pedestrians. A motorcyclist had a 1 in 899 chance of dying in a crash compared to pedestrians, who had a 1 in 543 chance of dying in a traffic accident. Bicyclists faired much better at 1 in 3,825 odds of dying in a bicycle accident.

Factors That Can Increase Your Odds of Dying in a Car Accident

Negligence and human errors cause most car accidents. Road conditions or defective car parts might cause others. Most car wrecks can be avoided but for driver negligence and carelessness.

Factors that can increase your chance of being involved in a deadly car accident include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Distractions
  • Disobeying traffic laws
  • Tailgating or following too closely
  • Drowsy driving
  • Impaired driving

If a car accident results in death, the driver responsible for the crash could face criminal charges. The family may sue the driver for wrongful death. 

What is a Wrongful Death?

The Missouri statutes state that a person or party responsible for another person’s death could be financially liable for damages from the wrongful death. 

Numerous situations and accidents might give rise to a wrongful death claim. Motor vehicles are common situations that result in wrongful death claims. Medical malpractice, assault, defective products, falls, and other incidents may also result in a wrongful death claim.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Missouri?

Missouri’s wrongful death statutes set a priority for who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, the surviving spouse and children (or grandchildren) have the right to file a claim. If there is no spouse or children, the person’s parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit, followed by siblings.

In some cases, the personal representative for the probate estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. The proceeds of the lawsuit would be distributed according to the person’s Will or Missouri intestate law.

What Damages Can the Family Receive for a Wrongful Death Claim?

No amount of money can replace a lost loved one. The justice system cannot undo the death. It can only offer financial compensation to the family for the damages caused by the wrongful death.

Damages in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Reasonable expenses for the funeral and burial
  • Cost of medical treatment and care between the time of the injury and the person’s death
  • Pain and suffering the deceased experienced before their death
  • The value of wages and benefits the person would have contributed to the family had they lived
  • The value of child care or elder care the person would have provided had they lived
  • Loss of services, support, consortium, comfort, guidance, companionship, and instruction the person would have provided to family members

Family members are not compensated for the grief, suffering, and pain they experience because of their loved one’s death. However, in some cases, family members could receive additional damages if aggravating circumstances were involved in the person’s injury or death. 

Don’t Wait to Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer About a Wrongful Death Claim 

The statute of limitations places a deadline on filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, family members have three years from their loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. However, there are exceptions to the general rule.

It is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after a loved one’s death. You need time to learn about your legal rights. Your personal injury lawyer needs time to investigate the death and prepare the lawsuit.